Message from the dean
Dear friends, colleagues, students and supporters of the Faculty of Community Services (FCS),
I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself and greet all of you as I work through the first few days of my role as dean of the faculty. I am delighted to serve in this role and I am very much looking forward to connecting with so many of you over the coming months. I am conscious that each of us is moving through this unique moment in our collective experience differently. I want to acknowledge both the grief and the pain, as well as the joy and the resilience that have unfolded over the past few months. My own experience over these months has involved both loss and re-discovered joy. I am grateful to have been able to experience all of this where I live – the traditional territories of the Saugeen Ojibway and the Huron Wendat Nations along the shores of Lake Simcoe. The land that supports my life also has a strong connection to Black communities in Ontario. This is where Black soldiers fighting for the British in the War of 1812 were settled. At the time, these lands were unforgiving marshes making life enormously difficult. Their work and their vision created the livable spaces of what today is the Township of Oro-Medonte.
These are both exciting and challenging times in post-secondary education. FCS will continue to play a significant role in the delivery of knowledge and skills that are acutely relevant in our changing society and communities. We will do so with our hearts, focusing on the many social injustices all around us; our heads, engaging in research and knowledge creation that draws on the richness of wisdom, knowledge, and technology from Indigenous, Afrocentric, Eastern, and Western traditions; and our hands, focusing on experiential learning reflective of the full diversity of lived experiences in our communities.
I am excited to work alongside the wonderful and dedicated team in my office and in each school office, including people who have been serving and supporting the needs of the faculty for a long time and people who have joined our efforts in recent months. I am honoured to be working with the incredible researchers, changemakers, activists and pedagogues from across all nine schools in our faculty. Of course, I am always excited to be part of the learning and growth journey of the nearly 8,000 students in our faculty, each one with their own story and life circumstances that combine to make this journey uniquely theirs.
Over the next few weeks, our focus is of course on getting the new academic year off to a great start. There are complications, as there always are, given the uncertainties presented by the pandemic, but there is also a commitment to make this coming year a memorable, positive, and rewarding experience for everyone involved – from students, to our professional staff, to our faculty members. At the same time, there is no better opportunity than a time of uncertainty and fluidity to plan for the future. What works well will be nurtured and protected, but every opportunity to do better, to be better and to aspire for better will also be fully engaged.
Please enjoy these final weeks of summer.
Dean, Faculty of Community Services